GM Slowing Impala Production, Laying Off Third Shift

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

The Chevy Impala showed a 1.8 percent gain in sales in March. At the first of April, GM only had a 21-day supply on the lots. The factory in Oshawa, Ontario has been running three shifts with Saturday overtime for several months. So why are they suddenly cutting back on production? An industry source (yes, we have them too) tells us that GM's canceled Saturday overtime and laid off the third shift until further notice. Rumor has it the American Axle strike is affecting the plant; although it wasn't previously identified as one threatened by a parts shortage. The more likely scenario: Chevy's filled all its Impala fleet orders. With overall sales down 11.1 percent for the year, and the distinct possibility that Malibu sales are (as predicted) cannibalizing the Impala, GM's simply slowing Impala production to meet retail demand (or lack thereof). The sales numbers over the next few months will throw some light on the truth of the matter. We'll keep you posted.

Frank Williams
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  • Oboylepr Oboylepr on Apr 16, 2008
    The Imp is big on the outside and in the trunk but the rear seat head and leg room are smaller than nearly every mid-size (ya’ it’s wider than most). Data source CR. It’s really just a heavy, long, thirsty poorly packaged midsize. I have heard that the Imp is not too bad on gas but the rear headroom issue is real enough and it's not confined to the Impala. The late not-so-great Grand Prix was awful in this respect. If you found yourself sitting in the rear at either door, your head would be banging against the low roofline all the time. Just an abysmal design for a so called mid-size car. The Olds Alero and Pontiac Grand Am were even worse for this. Even the much maligned Toyota Echo was far better in this respect. I had the misfortune of being a rear seat passenger in an Imp traveling from Toledo to east of Toronto. Cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Jthorner Jthorner on Apr 16, 2008

    I've spent a good amount of time in modern Impalas and in the Five Hundred/Taurus. The Impala rear seats are especially uncomfortable on long trips. Not only is the headroom terrible, but the seat cushion is too short and too thin. The New Taurus is a much, much better vehicle than the Impala IMO, and Ford actually puts a modern DOHC transmission and 6-speed engine in the Taurus while GM is still fobbing off it's now ancient pushrod engines and 4-speed transmission. Ford also give much better packaging, safety, ride, handling, etc. What stumps me is why anyone is buying Impalas. The few retail Impala customers probably literally don't know any better.

  • Jaje Jaje on Apr 17, 2008

    Well the Taurus is based on the older Volvo S80 (about 8 years old) so that older Volvo platform is still lightyears better than Chevy's 20 year old platforms and 30 year old drivetrains. Reason why anyone buys a new "retail" Impala is the deal. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who bought an Impala for its merit. In fact most of the Big 2.8 hardly sell cars or trucks anymore - they sell deals on the cars and that is the majority of their customers - they want to best deal but understand you don't get the best product.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Apr 17, 2008
    "Reason why anyone buys a new “retail” Impala is the deal." Ford is even more agressive with Taurus pricing. A Taurus SEL that lists for $24,435 can be easily bought for $20,607 based on An Impala LT that lists for $23,100 is yours for $21,317 again according to The SEL is a better equipped vehicle than the LT and can be had for hundreds less. So I still think that retail Impala buyers either haven't done their homework or are simply knee-jerk Chevrolet shoppers.